Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's A Mystery to Me by Anne Carter

Everyone loves mystery. No, seriously. Even those who say they only read mainstream fiction, historical romance or Zane Grey westerns are mystery buffs—of a sort. For if every book written didn’t have some kind of unknown contained therein, there would be no point in reading it. The mystery is what happens between the covers.

I write romantic mystery. Some call it “mysterious romance”. It all depends on what grabs you as a reader. Because it is considered somewhat “cross-genre”, I have trouble deciding how to label it when I enter contests or categorize my work on marketing platforms. People ask, “is it more mystery, or more romance?” Darned if I know! Yet this can and will be an issue with some novels. Is it romantic enough to be called a romance? Or, is the mystery strong enough to appeal to mystery lovers?

Worse, my latest release has no body. No overt murder. No amateur sleuth or hard-boiled flatfoot. As a member of Sisters in Crime, I sometimes feel a bit fraudulent. But there is death, I insist, and yes, there is a crime and a mystery to be solved. There is a heroine who needs to know, a hero who knows too much, and a friendly, if restless, spirit subtly helping them to find answers.

Whoops! A spirit, too? Well now, what we might have here is a paranormal romantic mystery. Cross-genre just took on a whole new meaning. Now that I am mixing three genres, does my marketing appeal narrow, or am I winding my way into a new niche? I prefer to think the latter, and hope that my books are helping to create a new stratum of mystery fans.

Oh, did I mention my stories take place inside of lighthouses? Does that make them paranormal, romantic, lighthouse mysteries?


Morgan Mandel said...

Thank goodness nowadays more books are published that don't stick completely to guidelines of one genre. I love to mix them up myself.

The graphic you put up is beautiful. Is that your book cover?

Morgan Mandel

Jean Henry Mead said...

I love lighthouses, and paranormal romantic mysteries. Oops, I think that's what my soon-to-be released novel is all about (minus the lighthouse). I look forward to reading yours, Anne. GMTA :)

Anne Carter said...

Actually, Morgan, that lighthouse is the one I stayed in while writing the last four chapters of POINT SURRENDER. It belongs to a friend and is located in Port Townsend, Washington.

The lighthouse featured on the cover of PS is Heceta Head in Oregon, although the story takes place in Northern California. Just some book trivia for enquiring minds!

Jean, now you've piqued my interest, too. I'll be watching for yours!


Helen Ginger said...

Does it make them "paranormal, romantic, lighthouse mysteries?"

I think it makes them interesting.

Christine Duncan said...

I do too. That genre stuff is good for bookstores so they know where to shelve the books, I guess. but it is unnecessarily limiting.

Jean Henry Mead said...

My brother was a chief in the coast guard at a Port Townsend lighthouse station back in the early 70s as well as Tatoosh Island off the coast of Neah Bay, Washington. I spent a week at both lighthouses visiting him. I can't think of better places to write or spend a vacation. :)

Anne Carter said...

Wow. I'm impressed! The lighthouse I stayed in (in the photo) is a privately owned replica (non-historic, that is) called Dimick Lighthouse. You would be talking about Point Wilson, correct?

For my next book, titled Cape Seduction, I modeled the lighthouse after St. George Reef Lighthouse in extreme northern Cal. I was fortunate enough to hunt down and interview the last keeper of that off-shore light station and man, did his info help! Nothing like first hand experience.

Thanks for sharing!

Jean Henry Mead said...

I emailed my brother and asked him the name of the lighthouse station, other than Tatoosh. He reminded me that it was Dungeoness Lighthouse Station along the coast from Port Townsend. How soon we forget. :)

Dana Fredsti said...

A lighthouse? And a spirit? And romance? Oh, I am SO there for this book! It sounds wonderful! Your genre sounds rather like that of Barbara Michaels or Elizabeth Peters, which was more romantic suspense (the former more gothic, the latter lighter in humor). I love those books and can't wait to read yours.